Paddle to the Arctic | Don Starkell

Don Starkell is the last person I’d take on any sort of wilderness trip. He’s stubborn, driven, and near-suicidal in his quest to meet his goals. That said, his journal sure makes for interesting reading!

Paddle to the Arctic is the account of Starkell’s three separate attempts to kayak from Churchill, Manitoba to Tuktoyaktuk, Northwest Territories. Each attempt is fraught with relationship breakdowns and near-death experiences. For anyone who has ever attempted a big wilderness trip, this journal will bring back a flood of memories. His occasional navigational blunders rang true with me!

One of the highlights of this book are the maps and photos. There are three healthy sections of photos to help you envision the sort of terrain Starkell and company had to deal with. There’s an excellent map at the beginning of the book, and smaller maps at the head of each chapter. This, combined with the sparse journal-style prose, places the reader right into the adventure.

This is a great volume to read during the off-season when you’re itching for that next big paddle.

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